Collective bargaining process within the state sector now completed
We have now concluded negotiations on changes to the central collective agreements and on continued collaboration between the central association Saco-S, which includes SULF, and Arbetsgivarverket, the Swedish Agency for Government Employers.
This time, two specific higher education issues were on the agenda, which is unusual. These were SULF’s demand for a review of the postdoctoral agreement and the Agency's demand for a termination of the central working time agreement for teachers and doctoral candidates.
“It is a good agreement because we have secured a review of the postdoctoral agreement and we resisted the attempt to repeal the working hours regulations for teachers, as well as other negative changes to the conditions,” says SULF's chief negotiator Robert Andersson. “We have also agreed on important work to resolve issues regarding pensions and matters relating to redeployment and fixed-term employment.”
Postdoctoral agreement to be reviewed during the spring
We will conduct a negotiation on the postdoctoral agreement in the spring of 2021, with the aim of reviewing the agreement based on the conditions that exist now, twelve years after it was signed, and based on our experience of how it has been applied. If we reach an agreement, it is our hope that the changes will take effect in 2021.
Working time agreement to be reviewed in 2022
We will begin a joint review of the provisions of the working time agreement in 2022. We have not at this stage agreed on any specific direction for the work and neither party has committed to any changes to the agreement. The current agreement came into being in the late 1990s, so there may be good reason to consider whether it is to update it to reflect current circumstances. At the same time, working time issues are regulated to a large extent by local agreements.
Employment conditions to be confirmed in writing
Additionally, Saco-S and the Swedish Agency for Government Employers have agreed on certain changes to general terms and conditions (Terms and Conditions Agreement T) in the agreements and with regard to redeployment. We should also mention another success for SULF: the deterioration of the conditions that the employer side demanded regarding various benefits, for example for parental leave and doctor’s visits, did not come to fruition.
The changes to the general terms and conditions mean that a rule of procedure will be introduced that obliges the employer and the person to be employed to discuss the terms and conditions of a position before signing a contract and that this is normally to be confirmed in writing.
The holiday pay guarantee will be increased. The minimum salary employees receive when they take annual holiday leave will be raised. In 2021, this will apply to members who have a salary of less than SEK 29 135 per month. It will primarily benefit doctoral candidates.
Clarification of the salary agreement
We have also reached agreement on continued work on the salary agreement RALS-T and on individual agreements, starting in the autumn of 2020. We will review the texts and see how we can clarify the long-term perspective in the agreement and its special nature as a permanent agreement. With regard to individual agreements, we will examine how we can increase their use and discuss whether we can open up for more types of individual agreement.
In addition, we have agreed on joint project between the parties on pension issues in order to try to achieve better occupational pension conditions and further support a longer working life. These are issues that are related to expected changes to the Employment Protection Act (LAS). We also agree to work together on work environment issues. We will also continue to work with support for local parties through the Parties Committee (Partsrådet) with regard to salary structures, collaboration and working environment, as well as sustainable working life.
Finally, we also agreed to complete the work we have begun on conditions for international placements in 2021. This is also an issue that affects higher education to a large extent, as questions about whether it is possible to employ people who work remotely from abroad and what conditions apply in such cases often come up in our sector.
For further details, please see the Saco-S website (in Swedish).